'Grand Theft Auto IV' Hits This Spring

The prayers of salivating fans have finally been answered.

ByABC News
January 24, 2008, 3:39 PM

Jan. 25, 2008 — -- This spring, Rockstar Games will do it again.

On April 29, the controversial video game publisher will release the long-awaited fourth installment of its best-known, and most popular, video game, "Grand Theft Auto IV."

"We are so excited to be releasing 'Grand Theft Auto IV,'" Sam Houser, founder and executive producer of Rockstar Games, said in a statement. "We've pushed ourselves very hard to make something incredible, and hope the game sets a new benchmark for interactive entertainment."

The game will be available on both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation3, and Amazon.com is already accepting pre-orders.

In the past, both Rockstar and the developer behind it, Take-Two, have been blasted for violent and sexually explicit content in the game. In 2005, critics took issue with a "secret" sex scene in "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas," that was easily unlocked by gamers. Ultimately, the Entertainment Software Rating Board changed the game's rating from Mature to Adults Only.

Most stores refuse to carry games with an Adults Only rating.

The rating for the latest "Grand Theft Auto" game is still being determined, according to Rockstar's Web site.

The game isn't the only one of Take-Two's franchises to be criticized over violent content.

In 2007, the violent imagery of "Manhunt 2," which chronicles the ultraviolent killing rampage of an escaped sociopath from a mental hospital, stirred worldwide controversy.

When the original version was tagged with an Adults Only rating, Take-Two blurred out the more violent images in the game, to achieve a less restrictive, more consumer-friendly Mature rating.

Despite the company's effort, Target refused to carry the game, because the blurred images were still hacakable on a version of the game played on the PlayStation Portable.

The ESRB, however, allowed "Manhunt 2" to keep its M rating.